On Monday, I was privileged to testify before the House Human Services Committee on HB 4.
HB 4 authored by Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite) would increase financial support for relatives who take in children who must be removed from their birth parents--kinship care.
One way to improve our child welfare system is to help kids stay with their extended families. Strengthening kinship care is one of the solutions developed by the Texas House Child Welfare Working Group, which had been tasked by Speaker Straus to come up with recommendations for improving our child welfare system.
Research has shown that children who are placed with relatives experience fewer disruptions to their routines, fewer behavioral problems, fewer mental health disorders all the while maintaining family support. Placing children with relatives is also less expensive than taking them into the foster care system.
The CLC is advocating for DFPS to increase utilization of kinship or relative placements. We believe greater financial supports for relatives below the 300 percent poverty level is a wise investment in state funds because kinship care has better outcomes for kids while also being less expensive than non-relative foster care placements.